News & Runway

A Fresh Take On Military at Balmain Fall 2014 (Runway Review)


The Scene: One of the biggest, most immediate differences I notice between New York Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week are the venues. While in New York a show is almost universally held in a sparse white industrial space, the ornate and opulent venues in Paris really put us to shame. Such is the case at Les Salons de L'Hotel de Ville de Paris where Balmain hosted its Fall 2014 show in a chandeliered ballroom. 

The Inspiration: Prior to his show, Balmain designer Olivier Rousteing was featured on The Coveteur and spoke at length about his inspiration. "Balmain is all about attitude, not only clothes. If you’re really strong and audacious and fearless, just come to Balmain," he said. "I love getting inspiration from travels or like furniture, you can go on holidays and fall in love with a town with people or a beach or whatever and from this point you can create an entire collection in six months … you work on something you don't want to forget, that you enjoy."

"The most important thing is that," he points to a speaker. "From George Michael or Britney Spears [whose head is cut out of a photograph and displayed on the mantlepiece] or Rihanna is like, sounds and music and working it's the best combination to get inspired."

Looking around at inspiration boards at the studio and backstage, it was pretty clear that this was going to be a collection heavy on the black and white.

The Look: From the first look, an army green military ensemble in leather and silk with the designer's signature big shoulders, it was clear that the strong, warrior woman vibe was going to be more literal than implied this season. Balmain's curve-hugging silhouettes were paired with oversized army jackets that almost looked like men's sizes belted for emphasis on the waist. A corseted top of army green and gold hardware, almost tribal, was worn over wide-leg army pants done in black leather. 

These almost seemed like grown up, more sexualized versions of what one might expect from the spate of dystopian futuristic young adult literature being brought to the big screen lately. It would be awesome to see a high fashion Hunger Games Capital citizen in some of these animal print military bustiers or Katniss or Divergent's Tris in one of the tough-girl leather bombers.

Some more streamlined looks like pleated leather-trimmed skirts with sheared fur tops stood out from the chic army, there were pieces here for those resistant to the military look. But there's certainly no leveling a claim that Balmain did the same old military theme, Rousteing definitely pushed the envelope. There was nary a frill or ruffle, nothing girlish about it at all. 

The Accessories: Gold and black or orange leather cuffs and chokers, golden brocade stiletto booties, lots of gilt and gold.

The Beauty: I have to say, beauty has been a bit boring for 2014. Center part, sleek ponytail, the usual, with a pretty face. Quelle surprise!

The Casting: Rosie Huntington Whitely, Jordan Dunn, Nadja Bender, Joan Smalls, Karlie Kloss, Senait Gidey, basically we don't know what models anyone else used today. Also a major appearance by BFF Rihanna.

images: IMAXtree

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